SUNDAY – Despite proclamations that the era of injustice would be over after small gatherings of climate activists yesterday, an investigation has revealed that injustice has in fact continued, and may even be worsening. This newspaper has spoken to various ordinary humans, and one doomed animal, to uncover their viewpoints, which cast doubt on the likelihood of success of the well-meaning protests groups which have become a feature of modern life.
The recent protests, co-ordinated by a new and temporary group of small groups calling itself the “COP26 Coalition” held poorly attended demonstrations in some of the remaining public spaces in a handful of cities across the world, to coincide with the 26th annual climate conference of the United Nations..
Despite the stated intention that the “era of injustice” would be over following such a spectacle, an investigation by this newspaper has found little evidence of a profound and long-lasting transition away from exploitative social and economic relations, nor in fact a diminution in the decades-long escalation of environmental and inter-species institutional violence.
Approached for comment while working in a degrading, alienating and dangerous unskilled light-manufacturing job John Smith (not real name – would lose job if identified) was non-committal.
“Yeah, I heard about that march thing, and kinda sorta was thinking I might go. Or watch it on livestream But I’m having to pull double shifts because my rent went up and fuel bills are crazy right now. And my car, which is the only way to get to this shit job, broke down, so there’s that. But, you know, I hope they’re right and all this injustice shit is over soon. Then maybe someone can ask my supervisor to stop busting my balls, shorting my wages and giving all the sweetest slots to that chick he wants to fuck. But look, gotta get back to it, you know.”
Meanwhile, in Delhi, a displaced farmer Vijay Shiva (not his real name), whose land was confiscated by the local well-connected plutocrat when he fell impossibly behind on debt payments for fertilizer and pesticide had seen no improvement in either his nutritional status, his three children’s educational prospects, nor the quality of the air after the sparsely-attended protests.
”My family farmed the land for generations. But we cannot compete with the megacorporations who own the government, who change the rules to suit themselves and who dump all the costs of production on the poor and on the future. Those of us who do not commit suicide in despair try to survive, but every year they find new ways to steal from us, even our hope and dignity. But I hope the nice rich people feel good now that they have had their rally.”
In a slaughterhouse outside a major Australian city, a pig called Wilbur (not his real name) about to be killed was dismissive. “We have heard this so many times. If they’re so convinced that their big international meetings will lead to change, how do they explain the number 26? Humans only care about control, luxury, stealing everything they can. They have no interest in justice, not for other species, not even for future generations of their own. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with a stun gun and then a blade, so I can be someone’s ham sandwich next Tuesday. Fuck you all very much.”
The organisers of the rally insisted that gathering a small number of people together to listen to predictable speeches while being rained on was in fact a strategic masterstroke, and a crucial and unprecedented first step in building an irresistible, non-co-optable or repressible intergenerational movement that would overturn a trajectory of increasing extractivism that began hundreds – nay, thousands – of years ago and had intensified dramatically since the Great Acceleration of the 1960s, before being solidified via neoliberal and algorithmic surveillant technologies since the 1970s.
“We’re pretty sure that the next rally will be a bit bigger, and we will be able to sell more newspapers and distribute more flyers to one another. After that, the sky’s the limit” said a spokesman for one of the groups, declining to give his name in case his public sector job came under threat.
The perpetrators, and enablers of most of this justice, the transnational capitalist class, could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.